Florida Auto Accidents and Personal Injury: Important Steps for Protecting Your Future
There are more than 17 million licensed drivers in Florida and the sunshine state welcomes more than 120 million visitors each year. Every time you get behind the wheel, you risk encountering a driver who is distracted, drunk, or aggressive. Within the past year, there were more than 250,000 injuries from Florida auto accidents and more than 3,000 fatalities. When the reckless behavior of another driver results in catastrophic injuries for you and your loved ones, take action to protect your financial future and contact a Florida personal injury attorney.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney
Following an accident, everyone will want to talk to you, but the most important call you will make is to your lawyer.
A personal injury attorney has the experience necessary to handle the insurance company on your behalf by gathering evidence, reviewing medical and accident reports, negotiating the optimal compensation, and taking your case to trial if necessary.
Navigating an insurance claim is a challenging process and insurance companies often try to settle your claim for less than it is worth, leaving you with unpaid bills and expenses. Hiring an attorney ensures your claim will be handled by someone with the expertise to guide yours through the legal and insurance process.
Type of Accident and Common Injuries
The force created by a rear-end impact to your vehicle most commonly causes whiplash, neck and back injuries but a severe impact may also cause head injuries, broken bones, and soft tissue injuries.
Side impact collisions, also called “t-bone collisions” can lead to a variety of injuries depending on the force involved, whether airbags were deployed, and whether the victim(s) were on the side of impact. These type of collisions often cause head and brain injuries, neck injuries, back injuries, chest injuries, abdominal injuries, pelvic injuries, limb injuries, and soft tissue injuries.
Left-turn collisions often strike the victims without warning and can result in serious injuries. Victims often experience whiplash, lacerations, severe bruising, hematomas. In more severe crashes, head injuries, bone fractures, and internal bleeding may occur.
Sideswipe collisions can lead to a variety of injuries depending on the force involved, whether or not airbags were deployed, and whether the victim(s) were on the side of impact. In a minor collision, victims may suffer cuts and bruises, whiplash, neck, back and shoulder injuries. In a more severe collision, victims often experience brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, fractures, hip damage, and knee injuries.
When a commercial vehicle such as a truck hits a smaller personal vehicle, the results can be catastrophic because of the commercial vehicle’s size and weight. Injuries may include head injuries, broken bones, crushing injuries, spinal cord injuries, burns, and sometimes exposure to hazardous chemicals depending upon the commercial vehicle’s load
What if I can’t afford to hire an attorney?
How do I know if I have a claim?
You have a car accident claim if you were injured by a motor vehicle and that injury is a direct result of another person or a corporations’ negligence. That means if the at-fault driver acted negligently and injured you, you can be compensated for the expenses associated with treating your injuries. These include medical treatment and compensation for your pain and suffering, mental distress, lost wages, and other items. You also have a claim if your vehicle suffered damage in the accident for the cost of repair and lost value to the vehicle. The accident does not have to be in your vehicle – it could have been on public transportation, a rideshare, motorcycle, bicycle, or on foot. Even if you were partially at fault, you may still be able to recover.
Common injuries include:
Factors that Impact Settlement Value
The type of accident and allocation of fault
The value of your claim depends partially on how the accident happened and who was at fault. In some cases, liability is clear or presumed. For example, in Florida, there is a presumption that a driver who rear ends another driver is at-fault in the accident. While in other accidents such as side impacts and some pedestrian accidents, injuries may be obvious while fault is less clear. Still, you may recover a percentage of your losses if at fault. Your attorney will work to show the insurance company that the other party was entirely at fault or at greater fault than you.
Your treatment plan and injuries
Certain types of car accidents cause more permanent and debilitating injuries than others. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible following an auto accident and following their recommendations is important to learn what type of injuries you have suffered. It is also important to maintain your claim, Florida law mandates that if an accident victim does not seek medical treatment within fourteen days following the accident, they have forfeited their personal injury protection coverage.
Your settlement value is largely determined by how severe your injuries are and what ongoing care is required to treat them. By seeking medical treatment early and completing any follow-up care required, your attorney will be provided with more evidence to present the insurance company that you are injured and should be compensated.
Available insurance coverage
Important Steps to Take Following an Auto Accident
Seeking immediate medical attention is your first priority. Even if you feel fine, still seek medical attention. Internal injuries that are invisible to the naked eye can result in more serious problems and possibly death.
It is important to document the accident with pictures and by obtaining contact information from witnesses. Should your injuries prevent you from doing so, ask a bystander to help.
Do speak with law enforcement. The official police record of the accident can serve as valuable documentation for your case. The police may wait to speak with you once you enter the hospital if your injuries are severe.
Don’t speak with representatives from insurance companies. During this stressful and emotional time, it is important that you not accept low-dollar amounts to settle your case. The insurance companies are looking out for themselves—not you—and they want to settle the case quickly. While their initial offer may seem like a lot of money, chances are it isn’t enough to cover your future medical needs.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney
The painful and emotional time immediately after an accident is no time to make important decisions. Securing legal representation is vital to protecting your best interests. Knowing you have someone on your side allows you to focus on your health and your family.
At Oldham and Delcamp, our legal team believes in holding negligent drivers accountable for the harm they cause to others. Our experience provides us with knowledge regarding future medical costs of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), spinal cord injuries, and other serious injuries. Auto accident victims with catastrophic injuries like these often require extensive therapies, expensive medications, mobility equipment, and much more.
For example, the estimated lifetime costs for a patient with a spinal cord injury can reach into the millions each year. While each case is different, however, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If we are unable to reach a fair settlement for you, we are unafraid to go to trial.
Professional and Personal Approach to Your Personal Injury Case
Each case is different and many factors are present in the calculation of damages which determines what value will ultimately be sought from the party at fault. The trial attorney at Oldham & Delcamp are happy to take the time to speak with you, review your damages, and determine a plan for pursuing recovery. Often pre-suit settlements are favorable but if a fair and equitable agreement cannot be reached, we are prepared to file suit and proceed to a jury trial.
Call us after your car accident
Your car accident happened quickly but the consequences can last a lifetime. You should talk to a car accident lawyer to review your case and discuss if compensation is available for your expenses and injuries.
We will do the work of gathering records related to your claim such as medical and insurance policies, investigate the accident, and negotiate with the insurance company. If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, we are prepared to go to trial and present your case to a jury.
About Oldham & Delcamp
We understand the physical, financial, and emotional toll a car accident places on your life. Our legal team treats all clients with the respect and compassion they deserve. We stay in communication with you throughout the process so you are never wondering about the status of your case.
When another driver chooses to text and drive, drink and drive or runs a red light, their impact on your life is disastrous. No one should pay out-of-pocket for medical expenses resulting from an accident that was no fault of your own.
Sadly, many auto accidents result in a fatality. If you’ve lost a loved one due to the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to a wrongful death claim. While it doesn’t replace your loved one, it may protect your family’s financial future.
Call the office of Oldham and Delcamp Trial Attorneys today at 727-610-6758 to schedule a free consultation or visit us online. Oldham and Delcamp serve Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Citrus, Hernando Lake, and Marion Counties.
Don’t delay—the sooner we review your case, the sooner we can decide upon the best course of action for you. Time is of the essence due to the Florida statute of limitation for filing your case. Fight for the justice you deserve by contacting us as soon as possible. We can help as your slip and fall lawyer, DUI law and auto accident attorney as well as rear-end accidents attorney, trucking accidents attorney and premises liability lawyer. We can also help as your wrongful death attorney, assault and battery lawyer, and criminal theft attorney
Oldham & Delcamp is a member of the Attorney’s Real Estate Council of Pinellas County, is also currently on the Board of Directors of the Pinellas County Bar Association, and is the former chair of the Real Property section.
When your freedom is on the line, you need an attorney that is aggressive, responsive, and experienced. Oldham & Delcamp is committed to making sure that each of our clients receives the personalized attention of one of our attorneys.